In Florida, dog owners are held strictly liable for the injuries caused by their animals. It is possible, however, for dog owners to escape liability in some cases, including when they posted a “Bad Dog” sign on their property. Even in these situations, a victim could still be entitled to damages, so if you were bitten by someone else’s dog and that person is refusing to accept responsibility for the animal’s actions, please call our experienced Miami dog bite and animal attack lawyers for help.
The “Bad Dog” Defense
Florida is a strict liability dog bite state, which means that dog owners can be presumed to be liable for an injury caused by their animal, even if there is no evidence of negligence. Dog owners can, however, escape liability by claiming an absolute defense, such as the “Bad Dog” defense, under which dog owners can avoid being held liable for an injury if they display a “Bad Dog” sign on their property.
Readability and Prominence
Just because a dog owner posted this type of sign, however, does not mean that a dog bite victim is automatically out of luck. For instance, the sign must be easily readable to qualify under this exception, so if the words are handwritten, blurred, or small, this defense may no longer be applicable. Similarly, the sign must be displayed in a prominent place, so if a dog owner placed a sign in the backyard, where it couldn’t be seen, then the defense would most likely not be successful.
The Age of the Defendant
The “Bad Dog” sign defense doesn’t apply in every dog bite case. When a defendant is under the age of six years old, for instance, then a dog owner’s posting of a sign isn’t considered a defense against liability, as many six-year-olds are unable to read and even if they can, may lack the maturity to understand the meaning of the sign.
Similarly, if a dog owner’s negligence or omission caused the injury, then posting a sign won’t be enough to escape liability. If a dog escaped from the yard, for instance, and bit someone on the sidewalk, then the owner could still be liable for the victim’s medical bills and pain and suffering. An owner’s decision to tell a visitor to ignore the sign or claiming that petting the dog was safe could also be construed as negligent enough to overcome the owner’s use of a “Bad Dog” sign. For help determining whether someone’s use of a warning sign could impact your own dog bite case, please reach out to our legal team today.
Contact a Dog Bite and Animal Attack Lawyer in Miami
If you were bitten or attacked by someone else’s dog in Miami, but have been unable to collect compensation from the responsible party, please call the dedicated dog bite lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP to learn more about your legal options. We can be reached at 305-371-2692, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.